“I love you!” I called from the front seat.
“I love you too.” [quick and curt.]
I looked back and saw Gracie’s serious face, mouth moving, a rush of words rolling out under her breath.
“What are you doing, buddy?” I asked.
[fierce tone]“I am talking to Satan.”
[I think] Whhaaat??? But I say: “Oh really? What are you saying to him?”
There is a spiritual battle going on right in the back seat of my car?!
“Why do you think you need to say that to him?”
“Because!!!! He is making me distracted by things I don’t want to think! So I am trying to crush him!”
WOW! Who is this kid rebuking the enemy at 6 years old???
“You know you’re exactly right in what you’re doing. The enemy has to flee at the sound of Jesus’ name. So you just say ‘In the name of Jesus, Satan, get behind me!’”
“Why does he have to flee?” she asks.
“Because, Jesus has all the power- remember the Bible says he will crush the serpent’s head—” [She cuts me off with a triumphant] “Yeah! And he’s afraid of Jesus so he has to run! But one day Jesus will catch him and bind him in chains and throw him into the Lake of Fire!”
There are some of you right now who are cheering because you know spiritual warfare is a reality. But, some of you might be thinking: “This is bazar… you really believe in a devil? Isn’t that a bit primitive and superstitious?” My answer: I have no doubt the devil is real. If there is a God and He is “love” and the source of “good” then why not also a source of evil and malice—Satan? I Peter 5:8 says– Be alert and of sober mind. For your enemy, the devil prowls round like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We need look no further than our personal experiences and watching the news– we can see every day the evidence of the devil’s existence in all the death, destruction and hurts and harm that exists in the world.
CS Lewis once said: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.” Picture if you were in battle- what would be the best way to subdue your enemy? Get them to imagine you are no real threat—and then [WHAM] take them down! This is what the devil had done— convinced many that he doesn’t exist, convinced others God doesn’t exist, or that if there is a God, He has abandoned us. This has left a legacy of generations riddled with decay. Generations have been separated from God and vulnerable to evil- the evil lurking within their hearts (self-indulgence, pride, power, pornography, addiction… the list goes on…) and the evil waiting to pounce on them out in the world.
Some people say there is so much evil there could be no God (and therefore no devil.) To that I would suggest to define something as “evil” there must be a “good” moral law by which to define that evil. As Ravi Zaccharias says: If there is a moral law by which to define evil, then there must be a moral law giver— God! If there is no God then there is no moral law by which to define anything as evil to begin with.
That, unfortunately, is the way of post-modern culture. Satan has convinced many people that there is no such thing as “evil.” And, conveniently, if there is no evil – then people don’t have to take responsibility for or be accountable for their actions that are harmful, hurtful, selfish, or downright “evil.” Most people today have such a hard time taking a stand on saying something is flat out evil or even just wrong. They don’t want to sound “judgmental.” Its “all relative.” “Anything goes.” Easy for them to say— Anything… BUT then, when something horrific strikes- that intuitively we know should be called wrong or evil– there is no leg to stand on- in fact the damage is inflicted and we’re left totally blind-sided and confused. As Fredrick Nietzsche said- with the death of God we have wiped away the horizon- and now we no longer know “up” from “down.” The resulting condition is that people can’t even recognize evil anymore. We’re totally disoriented!
Then, there are those the enemy has convinced God created the world and then left us to ourselves. There is no “devil” just a superior being who set things in motion and stepped away. I’d call that abandonment. Some of these same people also say “God is good” and that “God is love.” But, I’d argue that you cannot call this a loving god. Who creates something and then just sits by and watches it get destroyed? Unless you would argue God can’t do anything to intervene regarding the evil in the world, then I would suggest that’s not a very powerful god. How could a god powerful enough to create the world not have the power to intervene in it?
If he won’t do anything about the evil in the world then he doesn’t really love us.
If he can’t do anything about it then he is not much of a god.
The Bible presents a very clear understanding of a battle going on between good and evil, right and wrong. The Bible explains the condition of the world and the true condition of the human heart. It tells us there is a real battle of spiritual forces going on for both, and God is neither helpless nor ambivalent about it. In fact, He loves us so much and is so full of power that He came himself to lead the battle and rescue us. Jesus, God in the flesh, left the seat of the throne to come and die in battle for you and me. On the cross He bore all the sin, evil and suffering of the world, and in his resurrection he conquered them! That is the story of Easter!
God sufficiently dealt with the evil outside us and the evil inside us. Remember I Peter 5:8 –“Be alert and of sober mind. For your enemy, the devil prowls round like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” That means when your eyes are opened to the truth, you have a special ability to see evil when it rears its head. You can recognize when you are under attack by the enemy. Like Gracie, you are not disoriented- nor are you helpless! If you know Jesus and call on His name then the evil you come up against cannot finish you. No pain or evil inflicted on you, and no inner temptation you face will have its way with you. It cannot make you spiral into darkness or pass on unhealthy ways to the next generation. Instead, when you rely on the name of Jesus you RISE above every circumstance— for there is “no other name by which we may be saved.” (Acts 4:7) Sin and death have been swallowed up in VICTORY! (1 Corinthians 15:54) That means when we enter into a spiritual battle we have the confidence of the cross and the resurrection. We are not fighting for victory- we are fighting FROM victory!
I come from a family with a legacy of being tormented by the enemy. Generations cursed and bound in the grips of the devil plagued with abuse, addiction, suicide and idolatry…. Generations who spiraled into darkness overcome by evil. And I’m sure I don’t even know the half of it…. This has burdened my heart for over a decade. When we had Grace, my number one prayer was for a new legacy to begin. I prayed for the Lord to break the grip of the enemy on our family and do something new. I remember the specific moment God made me the promise. After praying this prayer for almost two years, I was staring at a picture of one family member when they were a child. My eyes welled with tears and my heart flashed with anger as I thought: “Look at that sweet innocent cherub face. How? How could anyone do what was done to that little soul? Why, Lord, has the enemy been able to have his way with this family for generations? Lord, please!” As I pleaded an amazing calm and fierce resolve pressed me to my core. I clearly heard the Lord’s promise: “Yes, you will have a new legacy. Call on my name and RISE!”
To hear Gracie rebuking the devil with the ferociousness of a lion reminds me that spiritual warfare is quiet real and too much of the world is oblivious to it- and totally unprotected. The thing is that this “blindness” results in generation after generation utterly lost in evil and idolatry, perishing in the onslaught. I am thankful because this moment was a clear confirmation of God’s promise for a new legacy to take shape through Him- one that will flourish by the thousands- standing on the name of Jesus, the only name that saves.
You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind…. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.
But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. (Exodus 20:4-6 NLT)